Charlestown High graduation ceremony cut short by shooting across street

·2 min read

A shooting across the street cut short Charlestown High School’s graduation ceremony Monday afternoon.

Boston police said no one was struck by the gunfire and the incident was not connected to graduation.

The class of 2022 hadn’t yet received their diplomas when the shots rang out near Polk St., and Walford Way. Graduating seniors, their families and staff members ran for cover instead of celebrating the young men and women’s achievements.

A bullet pierced the driver’s window of a parked car, and evidence markers covered the street, taped off as police investigated feet away from young men and women in the caps and gowns. No arrest had been reported Monday night.

“It caught everybody off guard. We were just all sitting, listening to speeches, and we just heard gunshots. We all dropped down to the ground, and people were screaming, getting trampled,” said Yari Navarro, aunt of graduate Joshua DeJesus. “I think everyone was just getting kind of scared after what just happened, especially with all the mass shootings going on. No one really knew what was happening.”

Navarro’s sister, Yasiris Navarro, who was eager to see her son graduate, said she was not only terrified but also disappointed gun violence cancelled an important day for her family.

“The kids couldn’t even cross the stage. Heartbreaking,” Yasiris Navarro said. “We’re joking around here and there, but inside we’re devastated, we’re broken.”

A school staff member told Boston 25 News they will reschedule a make-up ceremony at a later date.

Boston Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said in a statement:

“Our graduation celebrations are deeply personal to us and it’s devastating that senseless acts of violence in the community interrupted what was meant to be a joyous occasion. Our students and their families work incredibly hard to reach this moment and to start their journeys after graduation. We are very proud of this class that has been through so much and yet they persevered. Many thanks to our Charlestown community for coming together and taking care of each other during this time.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden blamed the shooting in part on illegal guns and renewed his call to remove them from the streets.

“Bullets fired from illegal guns wound our society just as they wound and kill the people who comprise it,” Hayden said in a statement. “Today’s broad-daylight shooting near Charlestown High School, just as students, teachers and parents were gathering for a graduation event, is yet another example of the perilous combination of too many illegal guns and too many people willing to use them--anywhere, anytime.  I’m calling again for all of us, from every facet of society, to join the effort against this pervasive menace.”

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